Pain, and frustration and hurt that cut so deep it felt like I was dying inside. Thoughts constantly throwing me back and forth, deeper and deeper into sadness and anger and what felt like hopelessness. I felt like I was being held under water and had no power to help myself out. Or like my feet where stuck in sinking sand and the rest of my body was destined to follow. And then God was reminding me to be joyful during this pain, and it felt like He didn't understand, and how could He ask me to choose joy when all I wanted was to mourn? All I wanted to do was put to death that chapter in my life. I felt vulnerable and shameful and dirty. No matter what I did, I couldn't get out. For a while, every breath I took reminded me of the choice that I had to live with, and the pain that came with that choice. Hopeless. I felt absolutely hopeless.
But now, I'm on the other side. I mourned, and put to death that chapter in my life. Maybe I didn't have the power to pull myself out of my whirlwind of emotions and pain, but God did. I was stuck on repeat like a scratched CD. I was rereading the same page of a familiar old book. And now I realise why God kept whispering joy and peace to me..and I'm so thankful He was persistent in pulling me back into His arms and wiping my tears, speaking comfort and truth and hope to my raging heart. I understand now.
He is faithful.
He makes all things work together for our good.
He loves His children deeply and has prosperous plans for us.
Joy in pain is a choice. Peace in the storm is trust. None of us can naturally experience joy or peace. It is a choice. Unbelief is the instinct of our deceitful heart. But peace and joy says "You are faithful, You make all things work together for my good and I know that You are my Heavenly Father, my daddy who loves me deeply. I will have peace, because You are in control and You can make this beautiful for Your glory. I will have joy, because I know that You are good".
Do you want to hear about some of my favourite things? I'm glad you said yes. Rain and autumn. Rain, and dancing, and jumping in puddles, and catching raindrops in my mouth. Growing up I always loved dancing in the rain and getting soaking wet and jumping in every puddle I could see. It thrilled me! It still does.. sadly, though, South Africa's rainy season is right in the middle of it's harsh and cold winter. Autumn, and the bright and radiant orange/red/yellows that fill every mountain and every tree, the autumn that fills the air with a crisp freshness that words can't quite describe. But do you know what autumn essentially is? Death. Yet it brings me so much joy. Just like Jesus died and rose 3 days later, the seasons of a year reflect the beauty of death and 3 seasons later, bring spring, new life, new leaves, green and lush.
There will always be seasons of death and pain and sorrow, but my beloved HOLD ON! Dance in the rain, jump in the puddles, hold onto the fact that the rain will stop and the sun will come back out and SHINE radiantly on you! The leaves may be beautiful, but they will fall and abandon the trees bare and grey and ugly, but beloved they will grow back beautifully and fill the tree again.
You may be going through a very difficult time in life, but I want to encourage you to claim the peace and joy God is stretching out to you. Trust Him...allow Him to fill you with His hope. You will make it through this. You will come out stronger, closer, and deeper to God and reflect Him more and more. Please know that you will be okay. You'll be even better than okay, you'll shine more beautifully and display His glory brightly through it all. He remains faithful and constant. He is always.
I'm praying for you!
I'm praying for you!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
...weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5b
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8